Paying It Forward
UC Irvine alumni Paul and Jo Butterworth pledge $35.5 million to support students and research in the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences
University of California, Irvine alumnus Paul Butterworth, co-founder and chief technology officer of enterprise software developer Vantiq Inc., and his wife, Jo Butterworth, also a UCI graduate, have named UCI as a beneficiary of their estate. The gift, valued at approximately $35.5 million, will support the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences.
The largest gift to UCI from alumni, the donation will be allocated in a variety of ways, including awards, scholarships and fellowships for students and to finance new research initiatives and faculty chairs.
“We are enormously grateful for this generous contribution from Paul and Jo Butterworth to the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences,” said Marios Papaefthymiou, the Ted and Janice Smith Family Foundation Dean of ICS. “This gift will serve as a strong and enduring foundation for supporting student success in our school well into the future.”
The Butterworths, longtime benefactors of UCI, are sponsors of the Butterworth Product Development Competition, which encourages and celebrates students’ software innovations, teamwork and entrepreneurship.
A member of the UCI Foundation board of trustees since 2011, Paul Butterworth has held a seat on the UCI Audit Committee since 2017 and been on the Dean’s Leadership Council for the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences since 2005. He won the UCI Alumni Association’s Lauds & Laurels Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2005 and was inducted into the Bren School’s Hall of Fame in 2015.
Chancellor Howard Gillman said: “Paul and Jo Butterworth have been woven into the fabric of the University of California, Irvine for many years, and their contributions have been substantial and highly effective. With this new gift, they have further cemented their place among the greatest champions of students at our institution.”
Jo Butterworth earned a B.A in 1975 from the School of Social Sciences. Paul Butterworth first came to UCI in 1969 as an undergraduate in the School of Engineering. In his third year, he transitioned to computer science, graduating with a B.S. in that discipline in 1974. In the mid-1970s, UCI established a master’s degree program in computer science, and Butterworth was one of its early graduates.
“UCI is where I began my career as a computer scientist and software engineer,” he said. “While at UCI, I met another person who was a graduate student at the time, and we ended up working together well into the 1980s. You could say UCI is where all of my success really started.”
Butterworth said he would not have been able to complete his college education without the monetary support he received as a student.
“I was considering not going to the university unless I received financial aid, because I didn’t have any money. But when UCI came through with a package to help out, that made all the difference in the world,” he said. “This is what inspired us to pledge support for students – so they can follow their dreams despite their financial situations.”
In addition to his role at Vantiq, Butterworth co-founded cloud platform development company Emotive and service-oriented architecture management firm AmberPoint, acquired by Oracle in 2010. He was a co-founder and senior vice president of Forte Software, bought by Sun Microsystems. He also served in engineering and technology roles at Oracle, Sun and Ingres.
“I have been in the field of computer science for a very long time, and it’s been amazing to see all of the changes that have happened over the past 50 years,” Butterworth said. “Universities were the catalyst for all of this progress, because that’s where the fundamental technologies were developed. That’s why Jo and I are committed to supporting UCI and its students: Education is where we can have the biggest impact.”